Let’s be clear here. The best possible outcome for the Dallas Mavericks is for Kristaps Porzingis to return to his pre-injury, Bubble form when he was one of the best players in the entire league. But given recent rumblings and events (really, the back got worse from Monday to Tuesday, after a full week off from playing?), even the Glass Half-Full Mavs fan’s best outlook still involves yet another Porzingis injury, just after he was starting to show signs of life and knocking off rust. And the Mavs Pessimist thinks Cuban is full of it or Porzingis and his team are pushing the current rumors. Dallas is known for its tight-lipped operations (remember how floored we were at the initial KP trade?), so it’s fair to wonder if Porzingis and his cantankerous brother/agent are up to something.
We at Cosas are responsible and forward-thinkers, so we acknowledge that it’s unlikely Porzingis is moved before next month’s deadline, and that we’d currently be selling low on him, given the uncertainty surrounding him and his inconsistent play, so it wouldn’t be ideal for the Mavericks at this time either.
HOWEVER, we also are trade addicts, live for WOJ bombs, and enjoy nothing more than tinkering with the Trade Machine. All of the trades below attempt to factor in both teams’ plans and considerations and that Porzingis’ current value is closer to its floor than its ceiling (sorry MFFLs, we don’t have the goods to get Bradley Beal.)
The Do What’s Sensible Zone
Mavs Rationale: Shore up rebounding which has been an issue all year and gain some significant and immediate cap flexibility with only Luka on the books long term. Drummond gets a nice audition window here before likely leaving in the summer, but maybe his rebounding and decent rim-rolling replace some of the old Dwight Powell role with Kleber spacing the floor.
Cavs Rationale: Cleveland is a spunky team with some weird talent fits. No star free agency is coming to Cleveland, and they take a swing on a guy who could change their future, without giving up any of their core pieces. They’d prefer to somehow get off of Kevin Love’s deal, but that’d complicate things here. Johnson also serves as a nice expiring contract. This is honestly a lot of value for a guy who everyone knows is getting traded and not locked into long-term money.
Mavs Rationale: As a Mavs fan, this is a bit of a snoozer and true punt on Porzingis’ long-term viability for us. Ian Begley (who was well-sourced regarding KP in his Knicks days) floated this potential team-match yesterday. Wiggins is having a solid year in the friendly confines of Steph Curry’s orbit and would serve as a clear upgrade over Dorian Finney-Smith. Shedding a year of ~$29 million is a nice perk as well.
Warriors Rationale: A starting five of Steph Curry, Kelly Oubre, Draymond Green, Porzingis, and either Toscano-Andersen or James Wiseman is formidable and an improvement on this year’s already feisty squad. Despite his inconsistency, Porzingis represents a significant upgrade over Kevon Looney, and a Steph Curry-led team having even more spacing is a frightening prospect. If the Warriors believe Porzingis will round into Bubble form, the prospect of him as a Warrior with a returning Klay Thompson next season is incredibly enticing.
The Calvin Candie Zone
Mavs Rationale: This may be my favorite trade from a Mavs perspective. I am a noted Marvin Bagley III hater, but I think he could fit well in Dallas and give the Mavericks a malleable rotation of bigs that can adapt to most styles. Bagley helps with rebounding and is a competent enough shooter to not clog the paint. The Mavericks have also been woeful from deep this year, and though Buddy Hield is shooting worse than at any point in his career, I bet the Mavs are willing to bet on him returning to this elite 40% 3 point shooting.
Kings Rationale: Do we REALLY think things have gotten better for Bagley and Sacramento since this? Marv has turned it around lately and has been getting more run, but the Kings have been banged up, forcing Luke Walton’s hand a bit. Bagley has made the most of it and likely created a perfect trade window for himself and Sacramento. The emergence of Cosas favorite Tyrese Halliburton has also muddied the waters of the backcourt rotation, and moving off of Hield’s bloated contract gives them all sorts of flexibility. Similar to our Cavs rationale, Porzingis is a home-run swing for a franchise who has some solid building blocks but has few paths to acquiring franchise-changers like Porzingis could be for them. The Kings brass is also sick of the justified “You guys are morons for passing on Luka for Bagley talk!” so maybe they just want to wash their hands of that entirely.
Mavs Rationale: Terry Rozier has been great this year (45% from 3 on nearly eight attempts a game?!) and has benefited from brilliant playmakers like LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward. He’d surely thrive next to Luka in a similar fashion. Miles Bridges has steadily improved as a shooter and would bring more dynamic athleticism to the wing.
Charlotte Rationale: The Hornets are pushing all the right buttons. LaMelo looks like a star; Gordon Hayward’s once-mocked contract looks like a great move, and they’ve found themselves right in the thick of the playoff picture. Similar to other teams on this list, the odds are stacked against them in acquiring potential stars, and Porzingis would slide in nicely as a perimeter threat with multiple playmakers surrounding him.
The “You Wanna Get Nuts?!” Zone
Mavs Rationale: If we’re being honest with ourselves, Porzingis has been playing a lot like the Latvian Laser as of late and had a tendency (obsession?) with quickly bombing from deep the moment he touches the ball, with little nuance in his game. A more lethal shooter in Bertans and extra playmaker in Harris would still allow Luka to cook but create an offense with more ball movement and better shooting. Josh Richardson has shown signs of life lately, but Harris has a more dynamic skillset and would be an upgrade offensively. Carlisle may rip out his last few hairs with the way this new crew would play defense though.
Nuggets/Wizards Rationale: Denver has been linked to Beal rumors all year, and despite Porter Jr.’s recent struggles, his value remains high. With Anthony Davis’ recent injury, maybe Denver becomes even more aggressive in their push this year. For Washington, a young blue chip talent like Porter and two 1s for Beal maybe isn’t enough, but add in a Porzingis for Bertans swap and Washington cashed in their biggest prize for picks, young talent, and a player that helps them keep their season afloat. Russell Westbrook’s style would mesh nicely with Porter and Porzingis as well. We’re not buying the Wizards nice winning streak at the moment and think they do something drastic, soon.
Mavs Rationale: Fournier has had a great year (when he’s played) and gives Dallas more, much needed shooting. Maybe he thrives here and Dallas can sign him at a discount and let Josh Richardson walk. Aaron Gordon deserves a change of scenery and would bring some much needed athleticism and rebounding to the Mavericks. Neither of these Magic guys have ever played with a good (let alone, great) playmaker, and Luka could unlock new layers in their games.
Magic/Celtics Rationale: Orlando finally does the right thing and blows it all up. Cole Anthony and Jonathan Isaac are the building blocks of the future, and hopefully Markelle Fultz returns to decent form as well. Porzingis’ game is similar to that of Vucevic’s, albeit with a much lower floor, but this move gives the Magic more outs and paths to rebuild, with a similar ceiling. An underachieving Boston team needs to do something to make their offense more dynamic. A closing lineup of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Kemba Walker, and Nikola Vucevic would be a problem for anyone in the East.
The next few weeks will be interesting for us Mavs faithful. Keep the Woj and Shams notifications on, and if you so dare, fire up the Trade Machine and let us know what other ideas we missed. Here’s to hoping The Unicorn turns it around and re-captures that Bubble magic, but at this point, we’re not holding our breath.